Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Blues Address Change, Change Many Addresses

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Blues Address Change, Change Many Addresses

Article excerpt

The new Blues just keep getting newer and newer.

Dallas center Bob Bassen, who left here in January 1994, saw few familiar faces in his first trip to Kiel Center Saturday for an exhibition.

"Even the stick boy's growing up," Bassen said. "I didn't recognize him."

On Monday, general manager and coach Mike Keenan continued the eternal makeover. He performed three liposuctions and two implants on his team, cutting his roster by one to 27 able bodies.

Only three survivors remain from the pre-Keenan playoff team of 1994: Brett Hull, Murray Baron and Basil McRae.

At least three more moves are pending, as the National Hockey League limits its teams to 24 varsity players.

The likely departees are newcomer goalies Bruce Racine and Pat Jablonski and rookie forward Craig Johnson.

For now.

In barely eight months, Keenan has chopped 13 players from his first roster last Jan. 20, when the shortened season belatedly began.

Seven others who played along the way are now forced members of the Blues Alumni, a group becoming less exclusive by the hour.

"A few years ago in Buffalo, they turned over the whole team," center Dale Hawerchuk said. "But that took a few years. This is a quick one.

"Which is probably good for this team," Hawerchuk hastily added. "Everyone's coming in on the same page.'

The future Hall of Famer is no dummy. He knows that in Blues Country, seldom is heard a discouraging word about Keenan. At least by anyone who wants to remain a citizen for long.

Blues fans have been less tactful, to put it mildly. Aside losing several heroes, they have been denied a peek at their latest New Blues edition.

Keenan shifted preseason camp 1,500 miles to the east and 1,200 miles to the west, stopping briefly 30 miles outside Kiel at a still seatless rink in Chesterfield.

Fans miffed at being shut out responded by leaving thousands of seats empty at the two previous exhibitions here.

They have yet to meet this team, which in turn has yet to meet itself. …

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